Jasper James heads to his first ATBA-UK comp: R4 at Ironsides

At the end of August, the final round of 2011′s International series took place at Ironsides Court Farm MBC. Jasper & Lucy headed along & here tells us how the plan changed from spectating to entering!

Down a narrow road, through a farm yard, along a track and past a field; then you see Ironsides. And I think ‘Damn, that boardercross course looks a lot steeper than it did on facebook’…

Me & my girlfriend Lucy turned up at about 10:30 and stuck the tent up as it looked like some much needed rain was on its way. Once we were set up we had a wander over to the control tent to see what was going on, before spending a nice day spectating… Or so we thought. Before we knew it, we had been bullied in to entering the boardercross without seeing it or riding it! So a change of plan: head back to the tent get padded up and get the truck up the hill. Luckily both of us managed two practice runs down the track before race time…

The track was well built, Raph and crew had done a great job on it. The start gates were just right to give yourself a good start, but not intimidating, then straight in to the first features, roller, step up and double roller. Next a really nicely built right hand berm in to the second straight of rollers, a jump and straight in to the second left hand berm. Which spat you out in to a whole lot of steep rollers that were a bit scary at speed. Then the final berm in to the right hand straight with a small kicker up and in to a log drop before a final tabletop and then the finish line.

Racing kicked off pretty promptly at noon with us novices going for our qualifying runs first. I was put up against two other guys in my first race, which scared the hell out of me as I’ve never really raced against anyone before and boy did i get my ass kicked! I had let my tire pressure right down so that i could actually get down the track in one piece. I got out the gates quite quickly but as soon as that was over i slipped straight to last and just decided to get down as quickly as possibly but i didn’t have a chance of catching up the other lads.

Once we all headed back up the hill I nicked a pump off another rider and put my tires up a bit. It still didn’t help. I managed to keep losing the qualifying races and couldn’t seem to get my head around the right hand corners without sliding out or crashing over rollers. But despite getting trashed in all races and knocked out in the semi final, i still had a great time as the support and friendly atmosphere was really supportive and positive at the top of the hill. Running part way down the hill to watch the pro comp going off was also a huge bonus to the days riding. Seeing the top level riders blasting down the black run was great and watching some big crashes on track made for some nail biting excitement.

The finals were great to watch and to see the high level of all the riding, and made me think who I could be riding against in the future…

Then as soon as racing was done, there was drinking, eating and general messing about on the scary mini ramp and slackline set up.
Prize giving took place a few hours later with support and cheers for every rider regardless of placing. Much partying then commenced with debates on nutrition of meat and whether it really did have anything to do with recent riots! The bands went off and managed to get everyone moshing, dancing and wrestling with Raph. Songs were sung around the campfires- much to the embarrassments of riders young sons and daughters!

Sunday kicked off with many people walking around with very sore heads and looking pretty rough. Lucy and I were both fine and enjoyed feeling fine whilst everyone else walked around with their tails between their legs :)

Though we had avoided the hangover, we were both a bit achey and we decided to have a day just spectating and shooting photos. Freestyle was due to kick off at noon. By 11.50 Roger had convinced me to enter the novice freestyle…

With ten minutes to go till my category kicked off i ran off to pad up again & get a quick practice run in. Full of a lack of confidence and ready to get my arse kicked, i got ready with the other guys in my category to drop in for the opening runs of the freestyle comp. Everyone was still just as supportive on the freestyle day with everyone cheering fellow competitors on and giving advice to their own competition. I was amazed by the high level of riding from the juniors who rode at the same time as me and the level of my novice category. I could hardly move my arm above my shoulder due to a dislocation the night before but i gave it my best for the first few runs of the day and tried to just land the jumps and ride out clean every time. The jumps were great, really smooth and well built. I landed some basic grabs and before soon our runs were done and we were left clear to watch the rest of the days riding.
The pro category went off with Andy throwing front flips everywhere, Brind tweaking his grabs and Josh landing on his face ;)

Finally it was time for the prize giving, I was up first and took third in novice freestyle. There seemed to be dozens of prizes given out for all the end of season prizes. Well done to all who entered and won or lost.
I don’t know about other attendees but i had a brilliant comp; It was my first time at a competition and first time entering and i was overwhelmed at the amount of support, the general good sportsmanship and high level of riding.

Roll on next year!

Highlights: Being beaten in the novice BX by my girlfriend, partying all night and riding with some great people

If you haven’t entered before then get yourself along to a comp next year and have a go.

And finally here are the winners, well done folks for making the British scene one of the best in the world :-)

Words and pictures by Jasper James

See full results for the 2011 series and details about next years competitions at ATBA-UK.

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